Latest News

Prepare your home for winter with a fall maintenance checklist

October 6, 2020

If you’ve never experienced fall in Michigan, you truly don’t know what you’re missing. From the intense colors of the foliage to weekends at your local cider mill or pumpkin patch, fall brings the family fun and traditions that make residents even prouder to call this state home. It’s also the perfect time to prepare for infamous northern winters, and Norfolk Homes is here to help. We’ve been building in the Ann Arbor area since 1993, and many of our employees have lived in Michigan their entire lives—so we've figured out what’s vital to your home and family’s health during wintertime. We’ve narrowed down what should be top-of-mind when preparing your home for the cold months ahead. 

Prep your plumbing

With temperatures dropping below freezing pretty quickly around here, it’s important to winterize your pipes before winter—and the possibility of bursting your pipes—arrive. Start outdoors by turning off outdoor faucets at their shutoff valves and disconnecting hoses or sprinkler systems. For indoor pipes in unheated areas, add extra insulation with a heat cable and plastic insulation wraps. Also, always be sure to shut your home’s water off when you head out for the holidays or even a long weekend away. 

Keep the cold air (and moisture) out

A thorough check around your home’s exterior can reveal cracks in draft-prone areas like windows and doors. Adding weather stripping or sealing exterior caulk to those spots are a cost-effective way to cut down on heating costs and keep moisture out of your home. Pro-tip: caulk flows easiest when the weather is nice, so get this task done before it gets too cold. 

Inspect your roof and gutters

Grab your ladder (and recruit a spotter) to safely make your way to the roof for an inspection—or hire a professional if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself. While some stains are just cosmetic, mosses or other growths could signify decay that you can’t see. Also, check for cracks around vents and skylights. If there is more damage than spot treatment is worth, it might be time to replace your entire roof. 

Autumn brings the falling of leaves in your yard, and while beautiful, those pretty orange and red leaves also end up in your gutters and downspouts, posing a major threat to the drainage of your home if left cluttered. Clean the areas and check for any damaged pieces, which should be replaced before winter. 

Check out your HVAC system

Now that your home is ready to keep the cold air outside, it’s time to focus on the warm air inside. The last thing you want to wake up to on the first chilly morning is an equally chilly house—or worse, a frozen pipe. Conduct a visual inspection on your HVAC system: check for physical damage and clean the area around it. Then, change the filter. A dirty filter can cause major damage to the system and rack up your heating bills. If needed repairs are outside of your skill level, Norfolk Homes can help you find a trusted professional in the area to do the work for you. 

Replace batteries in detectors

A quick peek at your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors takes only a few minutes and are a priceless way to keep your family safe and healthy. It’s suggested that homeowners replace batteries in the detectors twice a year, so avoid the infamous chirp of a low-battery warning and set a reminder to do it again in six months. A great reminder is on daylight savings in the fall and spring.

Check out your fireplace and chimney

A favorite cold-weather pastime can often involve your wood- or gas-burning fireplace. Before you fire it up for the first time this season, grab a flashlight and peek inside the flue to make sure the damper is in proper working order and clear of debris (like bird’s nests or leaves). 

Consider other options

Families are spending even more time at home than usual, and we hope this checklist gave you a good starting point to get your house in order. If your current home has more issues than you thought, Norfolk Homes can help. With an inventory of quick move-in homes available now or the option to start the home building process and have your new home ready by next fall, we can find the perfect solution for your family. Reach out today to learn more and even schedule a self-guided tour with our new NterNow partnership

We had the pleasure of working with Lisa while purchasing a Norfolk Home. Her friendly, knowledgeable, "go beyond the norm" assistance was truly appreciated.

Bob & Jeanne